CLOWES, Samuel (1864-1928), trade unionist and Member of Parliament, Hanley
Samuel Clowes was born at Milton on 17 September1864, the son of James Clowes, a miner and
The family moved to Hanley when Samuel Clowes was 12 and he worked, first as a mould runner, secondly as a hollow ware presser at Cauldon Pottery and at Dunn Bennett and Co., and eventually in the sanitary ware works of George Howson and Sons.
From his apprenticeship he was an active trade unionist and worked his way up from membership of his local lodge committee to become general secretary of the National Society of Pottery Workers. He helped to achieve final amalgamation of all the unions associated with pottery manufacture. He built up the membership, negotiated wage increases, helped to secure the abolition of the 'good from oven' system in 1919, and was active in the promotion of safeguards for pottery workers' health.
During the First World War he was a member of the Trade Advisory Committee which was responsible for advice on manpower and raw materials. He served as president and later treasurer of the North Staffordshire Trades and Labour Council.
He was prominent in local affairs. He was appointed a justice of the peace in 1910, elected to the Stoke on Trent council in 1911 and was made a city alderman in 1927. Associated with the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary from about 1914 he became its president from 1924 to 1927, during the period of large extensions, and organised the collection of the large sums of money required. He inaugurated the Hanley Blind Welfare Committee and served as its vice-president.
Samuel Clowes was elected Labour member of Parliament for Hanley in 1924, and was the first operative potter to sit in Parliament.
He married Jane Muckley and had nine children, two of whom died in infancy.
One son, Harold, served on the city council and aldermanic bench, was awarded the O.B.E. in 1955, was elected lord mayor in1959, and received a knighthood in1960 for services to the local community.
One daughter, Doris, later Mrs. Robinson, also had a distinguished record of local service, became lord mayor and was awarded the C.B.E.
Samuel Clowes, 'Honest Sam' as he was known locally, died at his home in Hill Street, Hanley on
25 March 1928.
SOURCES: F. Burchill and R. Ross, History of the Potters' Union; Pottery Gazette 1 May 1928 (obit.); Staffs. Sentinel 27 March 1928, People of the Potteries.